Penetration depth of low-coherence enhanced backscattered light in subdiffusion regime

Hariharan Subramanian*, Prabhakar Pradhan, Young L. Kim, Vadim Backman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The mechanisms of photon propagation in random media in the diffusive multiple scattering regime have been previously studied using diffusion approximation. However, similar understanding in the low-order (subdiffusion) scattering regime is not complete due to difficulties in tracking photons that undergo very few scatterings events. Recent developments in low-coherence enhanced backscattering (LEBS) overcome these difficulties and enable probing photons that travel very short distances and undergo only a few scattering events. In LEBS, enhanced backscattering is observed under illumination with spatial coherence length Lsc less than the scattering mean free path ls. In order to understand the mechanisms of photon propagation in LEBS in the subdiffusion regime, it is imperative to develop analytical and numerical models that describe the statistical properties of photon trajectories. Here we derive the probability distribution of penetration depth of LEBS photons and report Monte Carlo numerical simulations to support our analytical results. Our results demonstrate that, surprisingly, the transport of photons that undergo low-order scattering events has only weak dependence on the optical properties of the medium (ls and anisotropy factor g) and strong dependence on the spatial coherence length of illumination, Lsc relative to those in the diffusion regime. More importantly, these low-order scattering photons typically penetrate less than ls into the medium due to the low spatial coherence length of illumination and their penetration depth is proportional to the one-third power of the coherence volume (i.e., [ls π Ls2] 13).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number041914
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 26 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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